You are hereFrom the Pastoral Staff -Deacon John

From the Pastoral Staff -Deacon John

Updated 8/10/2017

Today’s Gospel from Matthew

is about the Canaanite woman who persistently begs Jesus to heal her daughter. When you focus
on the dialogue between them you might find it troublesome or challenging. It’s a story
about a close encounter between two very different individuals who on so many levels would otherwise never interact. Since they were following acceptable cultural, political, and religious practices, they would not be judged until they overstepped their boundaries.

They also have much in common! Both Jesus and the woman are strangers outside of their native towns struggling with their personal needs for themselves and the needs of those to whom they are responsible for their well being. The story also reflects our present day because it highlights the harsh realities of how language and power divulge prejudice, religious bias,
nationalism, economics, exclusion, racism, sickness and death.

Our reaction can be very different based upon whom you identify with in the story – the woman or Jesus in need? Like ourselves, both Jesus and the woman are hurting and looking
for insight, help, and a way to survive in their worlds with integrity and genuine love. Their common frustration is that many people do not really care if their needs are being met.
The fact a conversation even occurs between them is amazing! It reveals on a deeper level the realities that existed then and still exist today. It exposes what is happening, what
shouldn’t be happening, and what could be happening.

I offer for your reflection a contemporary expression of how we are called today to use our language and power to make a positive difference as we strive to live in the Kingdom of God.
Recently on social media I have seen many friends and family
members from our community post the following.

“This is my family. Looking at us, we look like your averagef amily. But we have a secret. For years now we have been practicing the art of acceptance. From a very young age, we were taught to love, respect and accept people for who they are no matter where they come from, what they look like, or who they choose to love. People are people and we all have a place in this world. We all have the ability to make this world a better place or a more hateful place...but the choice is yours. I would like to think that all of my friends/family would choose love over hate, but sometimes we just need a reminder. So here is your reminder today social media...Don't let the negativity from our leaders bring you down. Instead, spread MORE love and MORE acceptance because one day LOVE will rule the world.”

Reflect upon how this Facebook post might encourage you to live the Gospel message. Focus on the language – a word or phrase – which somehow challenges you. Let these words
begin to proactively shape your prayer, your language, and your actions throughout this week.
May your faith grow in the power, wisdom, and strength of God’s love!